March 25, 2022 – Friday
Mark 1:4 NIV
4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
We have read this before in Matthew 3:1-2, In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” And followed by, This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” (from Isaiah 40:3)
It is different in Mark as the quote from Isaiah 40:3 precedes our verse of the day along with a quote from Malachi as well. Here are verses 1-3, 1 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, 2 as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: [but first a quote from Malachi 3:1] “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way” — [and now Isaiah 40:3 again] “a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”
It is odd to my way of thinking that John was preaching in the wilderness and not in any city or town near any water suitable for baptisms. What did it mean that he was preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins? Clearly he was preaching baptism preceded or along with repentance. Many Jews believed they were the chosen people and had no need to repent. This was especially true of the Pharisees and teachers of the law. But there were Israelites who knew they were sinners or had sinned, John was calling them to repent and once again become the true – chosen – people of God.
John taught a repentance that involved an intentional turning away from sin and towards righteousness. Thus, with repentance and baptism came forgiveness of sins from God. God’s mercy and readiness to forgive is found throughout the Bible even if they had been worshipping other gods. An example of this is found in Hosea 3:1 where Hosea is instructed to, Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. And concludes with, Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, It is wonderful to know You are so caring and merciful, even when we have put other gods or idols above You in the past. Thank You for the Grace we know through Your Son. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton